Helaz vie for LA2028 spot, says boss

KUALA LUMPUR: Helaz chairman Datuk Norazize Anual is determined to produce at least one Malaysian mountain bike (MTB) rider capable of qualifying for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics (LA2028).

Helaz began their MTB programme two years ago, which provides support and guidance to promising young Malaysian riders via the Helaz Cycling Team (HCT).

Helaz have also become one of the main sponsors of Malaysia Pro Cycling (MPC), a UCI continental road cycling team. A number of MTB riders are also part of the MPC squad and they will alternate between competing in road and MTB events.

Norazize, who is also the acting president of the Melaka Cycling Association, is confident their efforts will be successful.

"We are adding riders to our programme. We have already brought in talented riders from Perak, Selangor, Putrajaya, Melaka, Terengganu and Johor," said Norazize yesterday.

"Our goal is to develop these riders to become competitive at a higher level through the use of sports science, as well as other forms of support and guidance.

"Our riders are paid salaries and allowances with the EPF (Employees Provident Fund) and Perkeso (Social Security Organisation). All they have to worry about is riding for Helaz and the country.

"We expect them to compete among themselves and strive to outdo one another.

"Our goal is to have at least one or two riders qualifying for LA2028. We started this programme two years ago and have another four years to achieve this.

"I have never doubted the management team we have. With Ronizam Ismail (Helaz technical director) and Sayuti Zahit (MPC team principal) on board, I believe the sky is the limit.

"What is important is that our riders have the ambition and self-belief to succeed, just like Datuk Azizulhasni Awang has. That is the benchmark."

The national MTB squad won the nation's first ever gold medal in the discipline at the Hanoi Sea Games last year. Helaz had sponsored the team.

Norazize was speaking during a Helaz dinner event in Melaka yesterday, held to appreciate the contributions of riders from both HCT and MPC, as well as Helaz staff members.

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